Friday, November 7, 2008

Dear Pelican Rapids Community

As you know our Learning Levy failed on November 4th. Even though this failed I want to assure you that our schools are not closing.

We were very disappointed that the levy did not pass but we are going to do everything in our power to find some creative ways to fund our school until we can run the Learning Levy again.

We have a great school and we will honor the request of many to give the voters another chance to vote.

The state and federal governments have not funded schools adequately. Consequently we, like 90% of the schools in Minnesota, went to our community for financial support through a Learning Levy. Unfortunately the levy did not pass and now we face some difficult times.

I have already heard from a number of people asking, "When can we run another Learning Levy? It was so close give us another chance?" The answer is we cannot run another Learning Levy until November of 2009. If the board were to choose a mail-in-ballot election that can be run at a different time but we can only hold one election each year unless we are in Statutory Operating Debt (SOD) - similar to Chapter 11 of Bankruptcy.

Along with the election news yesterday we did have some very encouraging news. I had a community member come in with some very creative ways to raise money and help support the school until we could run the referendum again next fall. We were also notified yesterday of an award of $100,000 for two consecutive years. This was the result of a grant that Mrs. Thorson, our elementary principal, had written earlier this year.

As you may have noted in the last levy flyer the school board will review three options that districts face at this stage of budget shortfall. The School Board can choose to-
1. Cut the 1.2 million dollars
2. Make no cuts and force the school to go into SOD
3. Make significant cuts, spend down the fund balance and prepare to go into SOD

Major cuts at this time in our school would be devastating. I have talked to a number of people who are anxious to work with us to find creative ways to fund our school until we can vote again. We have a number of possibilities which we can explore-
• Grants
• Foundations
• Donations
• Get ideas from community
• Explore any and all options the state may have for us

These efforts will obviously not raise the money that a levy would have done but it may give us some time to work with our legislators and let the community of Pelican Rapids have another chance to financially support the school through a Learning Levy.

Again, I want to reassure you that the school is not going to close. We are going to do everything in our power to continue to offer a full service school and give the community another chance to vote. If you have any ideas on how to creatively fund our school please check out our website and enter your ideas and your name at the link provided.

Thank you for your continued support for the children of our community.

Deborah Wanek, Superintendent

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